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Tarpon Springs Beacon
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TARPON SPRINGS - Almost nine months after they installed the Ama mermaid at Craig Park, the Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee has already begun raising money to give the statue a permanent home.

Earlier in the year, French artist Amaryllis Batailleas created a customized sculpture for Tarpon Springs as part of her Amaryllis Art for Charity program, which places unique Ama mermaid statues around the world. Tarpon’s mermaid, which was unveiled on April 1, stands at 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 360 pounds. At the base of the statue, a small bronze plaque reflects the history of the city.

According to a press release from the city in February, the statue was originally proposed in Tarpon Springs “because of the beauty of the city’s close proximity to the Gulf and bayou waters, the mythical ties between mermaids, manatees and Greek culture and the city’s ability to draw national and international visitors.”

But the three-year contract was only a rental of the statue; the Public Art Committee and the city of Tarpon Springs can decide to sell, auction or purchase the statue at any point during that term.
 ... Read More 
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TARPON SPRINGS - On Jan. 6, dozens of teenage boys aged 16 to 18 will dive into the frigid waters of the Spring Bayou for the 109th Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs, one of the largest in the western hemisphere. The annual event commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, and is highlighted by the cross dive.

Between 25,000 to 30,000 people are expected to gather to watch the teenagers dive to the bottom of the bayou - the retriever of the cross is said to be blessed for a full year until the next Epiphany.
 ... Read More 
TARPON SPRINGS -- The Tarpon Springs City Commission unanimously approved a number of departmental reorganizations at their meeting on Dec. 16.

Among those was the separation of the Development Services Department into the Building Development Department, the Planning and Zoning Department and the Information Technology Department. Employees of all three departments, as well as eight other city departments (fire rescue, police, public services, public works, human resources, finance, cultural services and economic development) report to the city manager.

“The proposed plan would allow more independent decision-making ability within each function for greater flexibility and responsiveness,” City Manager Mark LeCouris wrote in a memorandum to the City Commission.
 ... Read More 
TARPON SPRINGS -- The Windrush Bay condominium association, located west of Seaside Drive and north of Samos Court, is growing by 10 units following approval from the Tarpon Springs City Commission.

The site plan, approved by a 4-0 vote (Commissioner Townsend Tarapani was absent) at the Dec. 2 meeting, calls for two buildings (one with eight units and one with two units) to be constructed on the 4.61 acres called Windrush North IIl; the entire Windrush project covers about 17.14 acres. The 10 additional units brings the total to 118 condos.

All units will have access to communal areas such as the pool and deck, as well as parking, building maintenance and trash removal.
 ... Read More 
TARPON SPRINGS -- MTV is trying to re-create the success of Jersey Shore with a culture a little closer to home: the Greeks in Tarpon Springs.

The half-hour special “Growing Up Greek,” which aired on MTV on Dec. 3, followed 20-somethings through the streets of Tarpon, spending most of their time along the sponge docks.

“When you’re Greek, family and friendships are everything and everyone has an opinion,” reads the official description on MTV’s website. “This half hour special follows the young Greek resident of Tarpon Springs, Florida. In this bustling town, everyone is either dating, related or work together at one of the three feuding Greek restaurants. The special will follow these friends and enemies through the laughs, tears, and bitter Greek brawls. Opa!”
 ... Read More 
TARPON SPRINGS -- Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie is inviting residents to join him in a 10-week fitness challenge at the start of the New Year.

The city is partnering with Florida Hospital North Pinellas, Total Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness to help residents get fit and stay healthy through the holiday season and start 2015 off the right way.

The challenge, which begins on Jan. 12, will include group activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, yoga and boot camp, as well as two or three outdoor activities at Craig Park, Sunset Beach or the Fitness Park each week. Wellness classes will be held at Florida Hospital North Pinellas. The program will conclude with a 5K walk/run on March 21, starting at the splash park.
 ... Read More 
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TARPON SPRINGS -- Last month, Ann Lansberry became a millionaire.

It was simple enough: a few scratches of coin against paper and the Tarpon Springs woman’s $20 Gold Rush scratch-off lottery ticket suddenly propelled her into the land of the lucky.

With overall odds of winning set at 1-in-2.95 million, Lansberry won the top prize of $3 million after purchasing her ticket from the Gulf Mini Mart, located at 851 East Klosterman Road in Tarpon Springs.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday, December 10
TARPON SPRINGS - The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced that the city of Tarpon Springs is one of 919 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant.

The city of Tarpon Springs is recommended for a $35,000 grant to support the Greek Music in America initiative of the Center for Gulf Coast Folklife. This is the sixth consecutive year that the city has received an NEA grant to support folklife programs.

As part of the Greek Music in America Initiative, the Tarpon Springs Center for Gulf Coast Folklife will create an exhibition examining the history, development, and key figures in Greek Music in America. The exhibit will be enhanced with five concerts featuring a wide range of Greek music and instrumentation. Associated programming will include folklife workshops to provide learning opportunities in Greek music; Night in the Islands, a monthly Greek music and dance event; lectures on topics in Greek American music history; and the Greek Community Documentation Project to build a digital collection of images, interviews, and music.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, November 20
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TARPON SPRINGS - With flags blowing against the wind in the background, veterans were honored at the Veterans Memorial in Craig Park on Nov. 11.

The Tarpon Springs Honor Guard opened the ceremony, after which Tommy Squitieri led about 75 onlookers in the National Anthem and an opening prayer.

Joking that veterans shouldn’t be worried, Squitieri then recited the Oath of Enlistment, which everyone enlisting or re-enlisting in the Armed Forces is required to take, swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies, foreign and domestic,” to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same” and to “obey orders of the President of the United States.”
 ... Read More 
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TARPON SPRINGS -- A decade after returning from flying combat missions for the Air Force in Afghanistan, Greg Ferris says he’s finally getting his life back.

“Back then, the military really never helped out. I couldn’t even get my disability pay,” said Ferris, who was diagnosed with anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “I was doing it alone for 10 years. I didn’t know what was happening with me, what was happening with my wife. I got to the threshold of just giving up.”
 ... Read More 
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Community Calender
• Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
American Legion cookout
SEMINOLE – American Legion Post 252, 11433 Park Blvd., holds a cookout every Saturday and Sunday at the Tiki Bar from 1 to 5 p.m.

Breakfast is held the first Sunday of every month from 8 to 11 a.m. and the monthly spaghetti dinner is held the first Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m.  

The dining room is open to the public. Legion membership is required to purchase alcohol.  

For more information, call 391-6324.
 ... Read More 
Christmas parade
LARGO – Downtown Largo’s fourth annual holiday celebration, “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade,” is Saturday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.

The Greater Largo Merchants Association is hosting the event this year. The parade will end on First Avenue Southwest. The festivities will continue with food from food trucks, hosted by Generation Food Truck.

To participate in this event, contact Commissioner Jamie Robinson at jarobins@largo.com or at 692-1240.
 ... Read More 
Clearwater Ostomy Support Group meeting
CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Ostomy Support Group Chapter 4 meets third Saturdays, 1:30 p.m., at the Cheek-Powell Heart and Vascular Building, 455 Pinellas St., Suite 100, Clearwater.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with other ostomates, discuss problems or talk about experiences they have encountered with their ostomate. Meetings alternate between speakers and roundtables. Tables are set up according to one’s particular ostomate and the information from one person to another is invaluable.

The group will next meet on Saturday, Jan. 17. There is no cost for meetings.

For information, call Terri at 726-7336.
 ... Read More 
Holiday Lights in the Gardens
LARGO – The 14th annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens event will be run Nov. 28 through Dec. 31 at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Parking is available at either 12520 Ulmerton Road or 12211 Walsingham Road.

The gardens are magically transformed into a star-studded venue of more than 750,000 twinkly LED lights daily from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

A stroll through the shining gardens has become a tradition for visitors from both near and far as they are wowed by colorful lasers, animated figures and entertainers at this festive celebration of the holiday season.

A donation of $4 is requested for visitors 13 and older. Children 12 and younger are free. For information, call 582-2147 or visit www.flbg.org.
 ... Read More 
Socrates Cafés
CLEARWATER – The East Library, 2251 Drew St., is hosting a monthly Socrates Café, which are free forums that are open to the public. Attendees will get a brain workout, which research has shown is as important as exercise is for the body.  

The Cafés are set for Saturdays, Feb. 8, March 15, April 19, May 10, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 20, Oct. 18, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, 2 to 4 p.m.  

Participants choose a philosophical topic and then use Socratic dialogue – a question and answer debate technique developed by the Greek philosopher – to examine the topic. There are no prerequisites or additional preparation required.  

Socrates Cafés came into being through writer-philosopher Christopher Phillips who said that people learn more by asking questions in social groups. In his book, “Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy,” he advocates using the Socratic method of philosophical dialogue in open-invitation forums to understand truth.
 ... Read More 
Tarpon Springs Market
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Market opens Saturday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and continues Saturdays through June 27, 2015, rain or shine.

Due to a scheduling conflict with both the primary and alternate locations, the market will be closed on Nov. 22.

The market will feature ethnic food, imports, crafts and a variety of entertainment. Fresh locally grown organic produce and locally caught seafood also will be offered when in season and available. Parking and admission are free.

The primary location is in the downtown shopping district of Tarpon Springs at the corner of Pinellas Avenue (Alt. U.S. 19) and Tarpon Avenue. The alternate location is Craig Park at South Spring Boulevard and Pineapple Street for those weekends with other events scheduled in the Mother Meres lot.  

Visit www.tarponspringsmarket.com.
 ... Read More 
• Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
American Legion cookout
SEMINOLE – American Legion Post 252, 11433 Park Blvd., holds a cookout every Saturday and Sunday at the Tiki Bar from 1 to 5 p.m.

Breakfast is held the first Sunday of every month from 8 to 11 a.m. and the monthly spaghetti dinner is held the first Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m.  

The dining room is open to the public. Legion membership is required to purchase alcohol.  

For more information, call 391-6324.
 ... Read More 
Farmer’s market
PALM HARBOR – The Palm Harbor Farmer’s Market will take place on the first and third Sundays of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pop Stansell Park, 797 Florida Ave.

The market will run from November through April.

Featured items will include natural and organic fruits, vegetables, soaps, foods and much more, including a variety of locally produced foods.

Vendor spaces are limited, and can be applied for at www.csapalmharbor.org /market.

CSA Palm Harbor is a part of the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency, the entity providing leisure services to the unincorporated residents of Palm Harbor, East Lake, Ozona and Crystal Beach.
 ... Read More 
Holiday Lights in the Gardens
LARGO – The 14th annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens event will be run Nov. 28 through Dec. 31 at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Parking is available at either 12520 Ulmerton Road or 12211 Walsingham Road.

The gardens are magically transformed into a star-studded venue of more than 750,000 twinkly LED lights daily from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

A stroll through the shining gardens has become a tradition for visitors from both near and far as they are wowed by colorful lasers, animated figures and entertainers at this festive celebration of the holiday season.

A donation of $4 is requested for visitors 13 and older. Children 12 and younger are free. For information, call 582-2147 or visit www.flbg.org.
 ... Read More 
• Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
Holiday Lights in the Gardens
LARGO – The 14th annual Holiday Lights in the Gardens event will be run Nov. 28 through Dec. 31 at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. Parking is available at either 12520 Ulmerton Road or 12211 Walsingham Road.

The gardens are magically transformed into a star-studded venue of more than 750,000 twinkly LED lights daily from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

A stroll through the shining gardens has become a tradition for visitors from both near and far as they are wowed by colorful lasers, animated figures and entertainers at this festive celebration of the holiday season.

A donation of $4 is requested for visitors 13 and older. Children 12 and younger are free. For information, call 582-2147 or visit www.flbg.org.
 ... Read More 
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9911 Seminole Blvd.,
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